Today we are back in Johannesburg, South Africa and Kitwe, Zambia, where I was asked the questions, “how do you interact with people when you think they might be false converts?” and “Is there a place for ‘calling out’ unbiblical teaching from other believers in blogging?” These are my answers.
How do you interact with people that you believe might be false converts?
It is very hard to tell people who think they’re saved that they may not be saved. That’s a very, very difficult thing to do. I mean really, it’s the same conundrum you face when Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons come knocking on your door as they do very often, right, is that they come convinced they’ve got the truth. One of the brilliant things about Canada now is the whole world is moving to Canada, especially to Toronto. 51, 52% of the people who live in Toronto now were born in a different country. Very few of them believe they’re Christians. So it’s just wide open. Not only that but the longtime Canadians there have completely, utterly rejected the Gospel. So it’s so easy. I spoke to my friends class, he goes to a government school, a public school. I don’t think a single one of those kids had ever really heard about Jesus or the Bible before. In some ways that makes it easier, right, because you don’t have to undo all this bad stuff. You don’t have to try and undo all the promises of the prosperity gospel and say why, no God doesn’t promise us that. He promises something better. So I think it’s very, very difficult to draw people back who are already immersed in false Christianity.
But I think what I’ve seen successful and I really think that’s part of this reformed resurgence that’s been going on around the world, is just, honestly, the true Gospel does, in the end, have far, far better answers. So, the prosperity gospel will always collapse. It has, it serves the one or two people at the very top of the heap, and everybody else doesn’t get to see it to the same degree. Everybody else has all these failures and even people who are at the top of the heap in the prosperity gospel, they get older every day, they don’t look as good as they used to, they get sick and they die. So that gospel always falls apart. Any kind of legalistic gospel, any kind of antinomian, you’ve got like, all of them eventually collapses, it’s only the true Gospel that survives.
So, I mean there is a place to address error, and sometimes we can do that with friends or family members, but honestly, I think just the joy of the Gospel, being free about that, being free about what Christ has done for you, what Christ means for you. At the end of the day, I think that’s really what stands out to people, the joy of the Lord. No other Gospel offers that to us, so if we’re living consistently as people who have come to Christ in repentance and faith, people who are in our Bibles, people who are just marveling day after day at what Christ has done for us. I really think that’s the testimony that survives anything else.
Is there a place for ‘calling out’ unbiblical teaching from other believers in blogging?
In terms of blogging against people in the same, okay, we both acknowledge we’re Christians, we acknowledge we’re like minded in most ways, we’re going to do some back and forth. I think there’s a place for that. But you’ve got to be very, very careful because there’s lots of young Christians who read that and honestly a lot of young men who read that. It’s mostly young men who are interested in reading those theological disputations. And I think you can, I think you have to model disagreeing in love, which means you’re commending one another, you’re having a relationship with one another and you’re believing the best about one another. If there’s any trait, you know, 1st Corinthians 13, all about love, right, how to love one another, that whole section. Believe the best about one another, you know, believe that, I’m not going to assume bad motives of you, I’m going to assume good motives of you. I think that has really gone missing in blogs. And so what happens is people are just kind of swinging at each other and not really hoping all things, believing all things about one another.
So, if we can have disputes and it’s really done in that way of thinking, I think that can be quite helpful. How it usually happens though is thinking the worst of other people and not really listening to them, but assuming things about them. And that’s where I think you can get into some pretty negative arguments and that it tends to be, again, young men who get into that and they, by definition, lack the wisdom and lack the grace that would help them do it well. So, I think there is a place for that kind of, sort of internal apologetics or something, but I would be pretty careful. And I would say, as a blogger, at least nine out of every ten articles you write should be positive. I’m just modelling how to live the Christian life, I’m talking about good things. That means it’s all the more powerful when you write a post that’s against something or write a post that’s saying, this is wrong, this is dead wrong, I think it stands out all the more. If you’re only ever writing negative stuff, people, I think just assume you’re a negative person. But if you’re positive, you’re just helping people, you’re assisting people and then one day, bam, I think people really sit up and listen a whole lot more.